|Dreamcast owners finally get the chance to play one of 2000's best
action games, courtesy of Treyarch. The developers of the Dreamcast version
of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 have ported last year's PlayStation and Nintendo
64 game to the venerable Sega Dreamcast. Better late than never, I guess. The
good news is that the game retains all of the qualities that made it such a
fun game on those older systems. The bad news is that those frustrating camera
problems have also been faithfully translated as well. |
Spider-Man puts the player in the role of everyone's favorite wall-crawling
superhero. As the game begins, a Spider-Man imposter makes off with one of
Doctor Octavius' new inventions that's being showcased at an exhibit. In an
effort to keep his name clear, Spider-Man must act quickly. For some reason,
many of Spider-Man's enemies have chosen this particular day to be active,
including the Rhino, Scorpion, and Venom. Some of Spidey's friends make cameos
too, like DareDevil, Black Cat and the Human Torch.
The game's levels are all broken down into different sections, usually one
that involves some swinging from building to building, then some fighting or
pursuing, and then a boss battle. There's just enough variety in each level
to keep things from getting dull or repetitive. The odd puzzle element is thrown
in from time to time, but these are the exception to the rule and most of them
are not terribly difficult. Keeping the player's frustration level to a minimum
seems to have been a goal of the game's programmers. Spider-Man includes Hard,
Normal, Easy and Kid difficulty selections and that makes the game an excellent
choice for gamers of all skill levels.
Since Spider-Man is a port from the PlayStation version, the graphics do not
take advantage of the Dreamcast's capabilities. That's not to say the game
doesn't look better on the Dreamcast, because it does; it just doesn't look
like a late generation Dreamcast game. Only the textures have really been improved,
with a nice, solid 30 fps framerate giving the game a fluidity it lacked on
the PlayStation. Still, one wonders what a true Dreamcast specific version
of the game could have accomplished. Oh, well. I guess I should be happy the
game made it to the Dreamcast at all.
In the sound department, Spider-Man shines thanks to top-notch voice work
and music. Stan Lee, the mind behind the Marvel Universe, is his usual, enthusiastic
self as he narrates the action. The voices of the individual characters are
all first-rate as well. Some of the dialogue is classic, especially that of
Venom. Sound effects, such as punching and kicking noises, fit right into the
comic book world that's been created here. The music is also quite good, with
the opening theme taking a cue from the old cartoon series theme. The background
music is unobtrusive and appropriate.
Controlling the game isn't hard
at all. Spider-Man can climb, swing, shoot various types of webs, punch,
kick and pull off a few fighting moves with relative
ease. The only real problem with control involves the game's camera, which
sometimes makes it difficult to figure out either a) where Spidey is or b)
where he's going. Since Spider-Man can climb walls and ceilings, the camera
appears to get disoriented and this belies the game's "frustration-free" nature.
It's not a fatal flaw, but a glaring one nonetheless. If this could have been
fixed for the Dreamcast version, I might have even accepted the game with the
same graphics as the PlayStation version.
Overall, Spider-Man is a great action game with enough variety to guarantee
it should find a prime spot in your Dreamcast library. However, if you've already
played through the PlayStation or Nintendo 64 version of the game, it's really
not different enough to warrant another purchase. If you've yet to experience
it, and you've got a Dreamcast, this version is the one to buy. Don't let the
camera flaws dissuade you. As superhero games go, Spider-Man is at the top
of the heap.